TWO IPEM members had a great idea: why not tap into members’ writing skills to create stories that can be used for outreach with children? And so, the Great IPEM Short Story competition was launched.
Members were asked to pen a short story of up to 1,000 words on medical physics or clinical engineering featuring some element of their scientific work or experience.
The competition was open to all IPEM members and there were two categories to enter, a story aimed at children under the age of 11 and those aged 11 to 16.
Given the high quality of entries, it is a well-deserved round of applause to Katharine Thomson who won – twice! She entered stories in each category and the judges picked them as the winner in each.
Katharine, a medical physicist in the Nuclear Medicine Department at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth, said: ‘I’m astonished and delighted to win the IPEM Short Story competition. I really enjoyed thinking about how to write about medical physics for younger readers, and I hope a few people enjoy reading my stories!’
The prize for the winning entry in each category is to be published in the December 2019 edition of Scope and on the IPEM website. Some of the shortlisted stories in each category have also been published on the website too. All these featured stories will all be made available to the Institute’s outreach volunteers to use in schools or other events.
The competition was the idea of IPEM Member Trustee and Fellow Dr Anna Barnes and IPEM Fellow Jo Young, who thought it would be a great way to engage young people about medical physics and clinical engineering.
All the entries received were anonymised and a panel of judges, including Dr Barnes, Peter Forbes, the Royal Literary Fund Project Fellow at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and children from each age category, picked a winner from each one.
Peter said: ‘Engaging young people in science and medicine is an urgent task in the face of the wall-to-wall social media that most of them enter at the age of around nine these days. Short stories are a very effective way of bringing medical matters into the natural orbit of young people. The best short stories highlight a single theme and create a world it is easy to step into. I was impressed by how well the stories on offer did this and believe it’s an initiative that could be tried on a larger scale.’
Professor Mark Tooley, IPEM's President, presented Katharine with a special IPEM fountain pen during the MPEC conference in Bristol.
He said: 'Katharine's stories were great and it's fantastic that she managed to win both categories. Many congratulations to Katharine and I want to thank all the members who took the time to enter the competition.'
You can read Katherine’s winning stories and those that were shortlisted here.
Katharine Thomson received a special IPEM fountain pen
from Professor Mark Tooley at MPEC for her winning stories
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